1933-1938: The New Deal and the Great Depression
In December 1938, US president Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR) contemplated recent setbacks that challenged the viability of his program of economic recovery, popularly called the "New Deal." Various achievements and defeats in the first three years of his administration energized his supporters and galvanized a diverse opposition of conservatives, populists, and extremists-who believed FDR had gone too far or not far enough. Critics accused him of overreach of powers beyond his constitutional authority, of inconsistency, of inciting class warfare, and of creating conditions that actually retarded recovery. Would the record of the New Deal sustain the level of popular support that he won in the election of 1936? Had his policies and programs promoted economic recovery? What lessons should he learn from his defeats? What changes should he make in his programs and politics as he entered the election year? Should he double down on his progressive agenda or change course?